The Over 55s are “Generation Stuck”

Industry News,Moving Homes

The Over 55s are “Generation Stuck”

by on Tuesday 12 January, 2016 in Industry News,Moving Homes

One in three of the UK’s homeowners aged 55 or over would like to downsize but can’t due to a lack of suitable properties on the market, creating “Generation Stuck”, according to a report written by the International Longevity Centre and commissioned by McCarthy & Stone.

The report, Generation Stuck: Exploring the reality of downsizing in later life, reveals through the results of a YouGov survey that 33% of UK home owners aged 55 and over are considering or expect to move to a smaller property, with 48% in total considering downsizing or having made the move to a more suitable home. The report, which examines older people’s attitudes towards moving and the “pros and cons” of downsizing, found that a “substantial number” of over 55s want to move but cannot due to a lack of choice in the marketplace.

The YouGov survey for the report also found that 29% of the 1,252 respondents who have downsized or are considering or expecting to, had or expect to release more than £100,000 of equity, highlighting the financial value of downsizing.

The report also details how these homeowners used, or plan to use, such equity. The most common response was to put it into a savings account (35%), using it to enhance their day-to-day life (30%) and giving it to family members (19%) – or putting it towards a pension for those aged 55-59 (34%). In contrast, for these homeowners aged 55 or over, equity release is much less frequently used for big purchases (14%) or to reduce debt (10%).

The report makes three recommendations to aid the “Generation Stuck” problem:

  1. Greater efforts should be made to boost downsizing choices, for example exempting retirement housing from various planning restraints.
  2. The downsizing process should be made more affordable, with one measure being the exemption of older households from stamp duty when they downsize.
  3. Greater level of advice and guidance could help increase older people’s awareness of the options available and the benefits of downsizing.

Clive Fenton, McCarthy & Stone CEO, said:

“Housing and planning policy should not just be about Starter Homes – millions of older people want to downsize to more suitable housing but there is currently little incentive or choice for them to move. As a result, housing chains are blocked at the top of the ladder. This report is calling for more attention on the housing needs of older people, particularly as 60% of all household growth over the next 20 years will be by those in later life.”

> Read the full report



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